In the age of digital social networks, it was crucial to re-examine documentary networks. Is this the forerunner of the business organization? In the 19th century, the universal inventory of knowledge was already associated with collaborative work.
What visions and projects bring together information and document professionals today in a context where the digital environment shakes up the documentary objects, production, distribution and processing processes, the environment of actors and practices, and users?
We will question the present value of documentary networks in various contexts by recalling certain iconic historical landmarks.
As for governance, it is central to the recognition and sustainability of these networks in increasingly globalized, competitive and unstable environments.
How is it changing digital documentary networks? Does it redefine certain circles, making them obsolete? Does it define new goals, new tasks in a new document production and circulation system?
Networks and Documentation
The establishment project of the documentation, the transfer of all the information produced to as many people as possible, is unthinkable without the assumption of national collaboration.
In essence, the network is the project-adapted structural organization that can transcend borders, the periphery of institutions to be deployed within access to information. We can consider it as the symbol of the original link between documentation and network.
At the end of the 19th century, on the basis of many volunteers, extensive archival collections were put together. A world bibliographic index has been organized, developing a universal classification.
This project is reminiscent of both the Web and Google's project that followed in the footsteps of these knowledge pioneers. This is linked to the development of international associations.
In 1895, the International Association of Associations was established after the International Federation of Information and Documents.
Faced with the development of information technology, physical networks, and documentary production in the 1960s, proliferating documentary collaboration was bolstered by ambitious public policies.
It is a question of collecting, selecting, analyzing, distributing introductory tasks between various documentation centers, creating a common documentary language.
The International Directorate of Road Research (DIRR), created in 1963 under the auspices of the OECD, is one of the first documentary networks.
Inis (International Nuclear Information System), sponsored by the International Atomic Energy Agency, agricultural documentary network (Agris) sponsored by FAO, or Resagri, Urbamet, etc. in France.
For their part, for common cataloging purposes, libraries organize themselves according to the size of the task.
The Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) was established in 1967 in the United States to provide joint services to partner libraries. The WorldCat online catalog is probably the largest library catalog in the world.
In France in the 80s and 90s public authorities supported the creation of collective instruments.
In 1994, the Higher Education Bibliographic Agency emerged, responsible for developing the university documentary system, whose Sudoc catalog will become one of its main projects on a national scale.
In the development of documentary networks, more broadly, placing in STI services since the 1960s, issues of information efficiency and management are intertwined. It also shows that geopolitics is intertwined.
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Digital Scope Change
Documentary networks always collaborate on common goals such as a collective catalogue, a database created by several producers, an interlibrary loan system, a public reading network. It represents a series of documentary assets that come together according to various criteria.
The real question becomes common goals to be shared in a context where boundaries are shifting in terms of information to be processed, production methods, service architecture, regions of interest and users' needs.
Traditional missions continue. But methods are evolving. Techniques to achieve these are changing, services are deployed in different regions. Users become co-producers, thus renegotiating the boundaries between professional and amateur.
It is no longer just a question of joint acquisition of collections, of joint cataloging, of creating a documentary language, of lending documents.
It is also a matter of cross-referencing acquired documents and products, internal knowledge, promoting knowledge sharing and capitalizing.
The challenges are also the constant evolution of the Web, the dominant practices of users on the Web, new forms of mediation, the complexity of digital sustainability.
Business is faced with the increasing complexity of information in all its forms.
The documentary function is part of the more general digital devices that make up the digital master plans of universities, regional master plans of digital development, digital strategies of companies.
Documentary networks intersect with other types of networks in the workplace, particularly ICT officers, heads of digital services.
Networking is becoming a general form of organization advocated by human resources professionals for a variety of reasons.
Activating collective intelligence in the face of increasingly complex situations; are increasing demands for innovation that require the ability to combine diversified resources.